From Antiques To Ancestors


Recently, Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, cleaned out our chimney and removed the wood-burning stove in order for us to enjoy an open fire next time we run out of oil. Barry recommended Richard at Gordleton Barn to supply the iron basket to hold logs in the grate.

Today we visited

Gordleton Barn entrance 2
Gordleton Barn entrance 1

Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained

mostly wooden artefacts

Log burning stove and scales

and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.

Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout


this interior reeking history.

Door and window

Fascinating doors, like this one that would no doubt interest Robin Cochran who makes excellent contributions to Norm Frampton’s project, are propped up around the place.


Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,

Sculpted face

and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.

Scrap yard

Outside in the yard stand various items that may be considered enhanced by a patina of rust.

As it was a fine, warm, day, we continued on a drive through the forest.

Such was the overnight rain that it has added to the ponies’ drinking supply, being particularly helpful in lying in roadside gullies so that, like a human drinking wine with a meal, they can slurp up the water which then drips from their mouths and trails back into the ditches to provide another sup.


The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,


while another watched from the other side of the road.

Moving on, we discovered

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist noticeboard

This church was built in the early 11th century, but there is some speculation that it is much older because three Sarsen stones have been discovered in the foundations. Neither, situated as it is on the top of a hill, is it very near Boldre. The parking referred to is nearer than the parishioners’ one further along the road.

The building itself, entered through a kissing gate,

 is surrounded by an extensive graveyard,

most of the older stones of which are so weathered as to be barely legible.

The William Gilpin Tomb

An exception is this memorial to an 18th century vicar and his wife, who, like everyone else, needed to be pardoned for their repented transgressions.

Jackie was particularly intrigued by the name Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis and the less exotic, to modern ears, of his wife Louise Fanny. They warranted a marble column which bears a legible inscription. The other two sides name their one year old daughter; and a woman whom we assumed to be Jules’s first wife.

Mary's casket

Most graves were marked with stones, but Mary was graced with a stone casket.

Some of the windows were particularly interesting. Through one could be seen the light pattern on an inside wall from a smaller light.

On enlarging the photograph, it should be simple enough for those comfortable with mirror writing to decipher the inscription on this beautifully etched glass. The second picture shows an older window on the other side of the church. I longed to enter the place of worship to gaze at this work of art from inside. Unfortunately, like so many of our churches today, it was firmly locked, denying entrance to nice people like us as well as nefarious thieves and vandals.

A wild garden has been planted around one area. We could see snowdrops just beginning to break the soil, and vowed to return to see this a little later.

Donkey on road

No trip through the forest would be complete without at least one animal blocking the road. This duty was taken on by a drowsy donkey at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, leeks, and peppers, and Jackie’s trademark piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.


  1. Your history rambles seem to go back a bit more than ours do. Although I reckon I’ve seen a shop in Ballarat that has some old cast iron grates that are quite small.

  2. More fascinating places, with lots of variety.
    It seems like yesterday when one could enter any church at will, safe in the knowledge that visitors would remove nothing but perhaps add something to the offertory box. Times are not changing for the better.

      1. I can’t resist quoting from The Water Babies, “in England the church doors are left open all service time, for everybody who likes to come in, Churchman or Dissenter; ay, even if he were a Turk or a Heathen; and if any man dared turn him out, as long as he behaved quietly, the good old English law would punish that man . . . ” etc etc etc. Of course, it doesn’t say left open ALL the time, but perhaps it is time to invoke that “good old English law”?

  3. If I were about to give birth to a child, I believe it would now immediately be named Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis, the gender would be of no matter. Isn’t that the most novel and intriguing of handles! I suppose the world now gives a collective sigh of relief at my post-menopausal state 🙂

    Had I been with you on your wander about Gordleton Barn it would have been relieved of several of the pieces featured in your photographs. (So much for all my decluttering efforts!) What a wonderful place – we don’t have such excitement here!

    This is a full and enjoyable post! <3

      1. And with thanks to Ancestry, we find he was a native of France, who took UK nationality in 1872, at which time he was a a 37 yo “independent gentleman”, and a widower with a son Gaston (13) and a daughter Mathilde (12). His first wife was Emma, born in London. They first show up together in the 1861 UK census. Then he married Louise Fanny Peacocke, also in 1872. They lived in Newtown Park (house), Boldre as Quercus has pointed out. They had several children, one of whom was a Captain in the Hants Rgt (Hampshire?) in WW1. Jules was certainly a landowner of no small means.

  4. What an interesting shop and I love the lampshades, too. I could spend hours in that cemetery and church. Great that QuercusCommunity looked up the occupier of that elegant marble marker with its draped urn to find that they lived in a 24 room house. I think you will enjoy the open fireplace as watching the flames and listening to the crackle is half of the cozy factor. I certainly miss having a fireplace. Such an interesting post, Derrick.

  5. Fabulous post, Derrick! The shop was interesting, but that church is wonderful. It almost seems like a dollhouse sort of structure–everything so neat and charming, even the graveyard. The windows are beautiful. I had to look up “kissing gate.”
    I love the drowsy donkey! 🙂

  6. Derrick, wow!! I loved the Gordleton Barn! This was a beautiful set of photographs, too. I enjoyed the brass balancing scale, the pretty lampshades and the antiquities.
    My favorite parts included doorways, light shining inside and the stained glass door panels!! Oh, then is where I saw my name and link to my blog. Such a generous friend you are, dear Derrick! Thank you ever so much.
    I hope you are able to find a smaller sized wood holding iron basket. My parents once had a brass one, long ago. . .
    I enjoyed your cemetery tour, as well as the Parish Church of St John the Baptist. The church’s glass etchings were gorgeous including an outdoorsy scene with a deer and lovely tree in it. Your capture of the other windows across the inside of the church was so cool! The donkey and red phone booth were a nice concluding picture.
    Your meal reflects a hearty winter seafaring meal, which sounds delicious, thanks to Jackie. 🙂

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